Okay, now the country is obsessing over parched koalas

More pics from the land Down Under where we have just experienced the worst natural disaster in the country’s history.

The whole country is still in shock, so here at Curiouser and Curiouser I’m determinedly focusing on koalas and how they are suffering in the heat rather than on the many people who have died – burned in their homes and cars and backyards – and the hundreds left with nothing but the clothes they stand up in, in towns reduced to cinders and smoldering ash.

I can’t bear to hear those stories so I’m just sending my donation, my sympathy and my thankfulness to have escaped it here in NSW (where bushfires also raged out of control for much of last week – incidentally, why are fires said to rage? These fires seemed much more malevolent than a mere mindless rage could adequately describe; changing direction to catch people who were fleeing and outwitting the best efforts of a truly heroic fire service which trains specifically to deal with such conflagrations).

Click Here for a National Geographic video about a koala found by firefighters (many of whom are volunteers, incidentally) desperate for water after the fire swept through her home range.

Anyone who knows Koalas will recognise how desperate these animals must be to venture close to humans, normally they are extremely shy and avoid contact as much as possible – even with each other.

Koalas have been increasingly endangered for years – their habitat was already under pressure from development and with no leaves remaining on the trees for them to eat, their future is not looking exactly rosy.

Nonetheless, everyone is rallying round in support of the people (and wildlife) of Victoria who have been so terribly affected by the bushfires.

The Red Cross and others are organising appeals and a national memorial day has been announced by the government… initially I struggled to see the point of that – I thought it was mere political posturing – but on reflection perhaps it will help people to know that the whole country acknowledges their loss and the fact that many people’s lives will never be the same again.

They will be marked in days, weeks, months and years ‘after the fire’.

The arsonists who set some of the fires are likely to get a public lynching. And I can’t say I would entirely blame the mob in this case.

A more positive post next, promise.

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11 Responses to Okay, now the country is obsessing over parched koalas

  1. I had no idea that arson was involved … how horrible. What a scary situation. Makes our California wildfires look tame by comparison.

  2. We are riding for a fall here in the Ozarks. Two years we had a devastating ice storm. So many branches and trees down in the woods have now dried out to make an amazing amount of potential fuel. If it got set off, we could have a regional disaster just like Victoria.

  3. LazyBuddhist says:

    That koala video made me cry (of course, it doesn’t take much to set me off these days).

    My thoughts are with you, the animals, and even the people who were affected by this horrible fire.

  4. Jenny says:

    Thank Goodness for Volunteer Firefighters.

  5. It has been a horrific week, and the news could still get worse. Sometimes the human reaction is to hide from the reality because it is too much to handle. I know I am trying to hide in books at the moment.

  6. piereth says:

    Setting fires like this on purpose beggars belief. I know they’ve caught one of the arsonists and he’s under max lockdown for his own protection.

    The ecosystem and the human population in Australia are living at cross-purposes in many ways; the forests are designed to burn and will do so quite happily without human assistance. The pictures coming out of the Southern Hemisphere make all of us feel cold though; how fast does the fire travel?? I heard one man say it went from the top of the mountain opposite his house to the bottom in under a minute.

  7. @ piereth, I have read reports of one of the firefronts (Kinglake, I think) which traveled at over 100Kmh!

  8. OmbudsBen says:

    I’ve thought of you while seeing the news, Truce. I hope you all do well, and recover soon. Re the arsonist — jaw-dropping incredulity.

    Re fires “raging,” it’s like dinosaurs, who are always said to have “roamed” the earth.

  9. woo says:

    David – yes, I made myself read the reports in the weekend papers and it was shocking in a way that few stories are in our jaded age.

    healingmagichands – gosh, that doesn’t sound good. One of the problems in Victoria has been the National Parks services not clearing and back-burning the underbrush which just built up into vast piles of fuel…

    LazyBuddhist – yes, its hard to watch them suffer from our foolishness, isn’t it? Especially when one considers that Aboriginal people had been successfully back-burning the country for 40,000 years to manage the bushfire risk. We have learnt very little, it seems.

    Jenny – Absolutely. It amazes and gladdens me that so many men and women left their own properties to fight fires and try to save other people’s homes and lives. And they’re still out there.

    Archie – I can’t believe some of the comment in the newspapers though: along the lines of “People shouldn’t be allowed to live out in the bush for their own good.”

    piereth – yeah, that guy is not going to last as soon as his name gets out, which it will. I think it wasn’t only the speed at which the fire was travelling but the fact that it changed direction which caught people out so totally, even the pros.

    Ombudsben – thanks. And yes, that arsonist is astonishing. I just can’t credit that anyone would do such a thing. And good point on the roaming dinosaurs – I’m sure some of them actually shuffled or ambled. 😉

  10. I find it so had to fathom that someone would intentionally do something like that. You country is handling is so very well, though. I know it’s not much consolation, but I find it inspiring. Poor Kolas, I’m glad everyone is helping them too.

  11. robodad says:

    I love koala.

    Koalas. I meant koalas.

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